It was the fall of my junior year and I had just found out that I would be going to Uganda with fifteen other girls from my high school soccer team the following June. I was filled with excitement as I began my preparations to leave. Time flew by and before I knew it I was in Africa!
The second day we were there we visited the sanyu’s baby home. I played with the babies for a while then I went down to the playground where I found a nice little boy to play with but after about ten minutes it was time to go. Unfortunately, he refused to accept that fact. He was squirming and trying to do everything in his power to get back to that playground. I remember thinking that he was the craziest little boy I had ever met and was so out of control. Finally I got him to go back into the house where I gave him a toy that calmed him down, immediately after I told him I had to go he began to break into tears and would not let go of me.
I began to realize that once I left there would be no family for him to go to. He was all on his own and I was only able to make him happy for just a few moments. I thought about the fact that my family is my best friends and all the happy moments I have had with them, he won’t be able to have with a family of his own. Tears began streaming down my cheeks as he clung to my leg. We were crying for different reasons. He was sobbing because once we left he would have to go back to his makeshift crib with no family to hold him close. I was bawling because it had dawned on me how lucky I am to have a family and how tragic it is that at that time I couldn’t give more of myself to those children.
Throughout the first week we visited many orphanages, played soccer against many of the girls and learned a lot about the African Culture. I can clearly remember sitting on the sidelines of a soccer games when I began to talk to a couple of the girls from the school. I noticed that they had book covers with famous people on them so I asked if they knew Beyonce. Instantly their faces lit up as they exclaimed their love for Beyonce, Chris Brown, Rihhana, etc. It dawned on me that although these girls live in poverty, they are still teenage girls who have the same interests as me. We all started singing the songs and then pretty soon it started into a huge dance party! We taught them how to do the American dance moves such as the stanky leg and soldier boy then they taught us the “Bread and Butter”, which is a pop song popular in Uganda.
There are many experiences I had in Uganda that have changed my life forever. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to describe the emotions felt and my experience I had in a six hundred worded essay. I left Uganda hoping that I was able to make a difference in the lives of the girls and boys I met in Africa but in the end they were the ones who made a difference in my life. The reality of their poverty and their willingness to forgive taught me what a classroom never will. The smiles on their faces are forever engraved on my heart.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.